The Disco Ball

Collaborate with us on Grisha’s backstory by detailing his kind disposition and how he rose the ranks of the Russian space system while maintaining such a nice guy attitude.

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Co/Create: Grisha Petrovich Backstory
Exploration of Grisha Petrovich as a musher in the frigid winters of Russia. His beginnings explain his lighthearted and caring nature.

Grisha looks out upon the seemingly endless void of space from the ISS. He is reminiscing about the events that had transpired to place him here now, in such an incredible moment. His mind was transported back to his iditarod days in the frigid Russian winters, where the nights held a similar embrace to the one outer space now offered him.

Growing up in Russia, Grisha was raised in a family of mushers. Braving the icy cold winters, his family has a long lineage of participating in Iditarod's… and winning most of them.

Taking up after his family members, Grisha became one of the best in his family, surviving the harsh journey through the arctic temperatures with his trusty canine companions. They kept him alive and he kept them alive. And they always had a smile while doing it.

One day, in his small and remote town, scientists assigned to a research facility miles from them, were searching for a guide who could help them across the barren wasteland. Everyone pointed them towards Grisha, their best musher.

Grisha received a knock on his door and when he opened it, the scientists from town were standing there, clearly unaccustomed to the frigid environment.

Grisha received them with a large grin, “Please, come in, what can I do for ya?”

The scientists all bundled over each other without saying anything at first to escape the cold.

Once they had warmed up, one of the scientists was able to get out a few words in between the chattering of his jaw.

“We from NASA… need guide to research station.”

“Please, make yourself comfortable first.” Grisha directed them towards the living area before going into the kitchen to fetch some coffee.

The scientists shuffled into the room together, like a family of penguins trying to keep warm.

They all stopped in their tracks when they saw several eyes staring back at them.

Grisha walked in with a large pot of coffee.

“Oh don’t be alarmed, these are my sled dogs. The most friendly animals you will ever meet, just like me.”

The scientists all found a spot to sit, trying to avoid crushing the pack of dogs.

It only took a moment before the sled dogs cozied up to the scientists to help warm them up with their thick fur.

The scientists all started to laugh and quickly became very friendly with all the dogs.

Grisha passed around coffee for them and made sure they were as comfortable as possible.

The scientist who spoke before could speak much more clearly now, “Are you Grisha?”

“Yes, that would be me.” Grisha responded with a wide smile.

“We are with NASA, stationed somewhere close to here and we were wondering if you would be able to help us get there?”

“Oh yes, the Earth Science station about 50 miles from here, right?”

“Yes, that is the one.”

“When do you need to be there?”

“As soon as possible.”

“Well, we can leave early tomorrow morning then and I’ll have you there by sundown.”

“Oh wow, that would be incredible. Thank you!”

Grisha prepared a large meal for all of them before finding places for them to sleep until the morning.

The scientists stepped out the next morning, Grisha and the dogs greeting them with large smiles for their journey ahead.

Grisha prepared three sleds for the trip. He would be leading the pack with one scientist strapped into the bed of the sled.

He then gave a quick lesson to the other scientists on their sleds.

Grisha explained very simply, “just let the dogs lead the way, they know what to do.”

With that, they headed off across the snow covered landscape of Russia towards the station.

The journey was as smooth as possible and Grisha was able to get the scientists to the station as the sun descended upon the horizon, just as promised.

The scientists welcomed Grisha into the station and showed him around.

Grisha was thoroughly impressed with all the research and technology within. He even asked the scientists to let him know if there was any way he could help in their research.

“Actually, we do a lot of research on ice cores here and could definitely use some trustworthy personnel to help get us to our sites.

Grisha looked back at his pack. They all glared with wide smiles and barked in unison.

Grisha laughed. “That sounds like a big yes! I just follow their orders.”

Grisha began working with the station for the several months that the scientists were there and upon their rotation back to NASA, they provided a lengthy recommendation for the Russian Space Program to accept Grisha into their ranks.

Accepted almost immediately into their Planetary Research Branch, Grisha performed off the charts and was soon accepted to the Roscosmos program to do research from the ISS.

Before departure, he made sure his pack was well taken care of, several of his family members stepping in to care for the dogs.

It was a cold, clear night as he said goodbye to his family. As he looked up at the stars, his pack looked up with him as well. In unison they all howled, wishing for safe travels ahead through the dark, as they had guided him through so many times before. 

Grisha, now floating in the middle of the ISS, has his tongue drooping down the side of his face.

“Grisha… you mind putting your tongue back in your mouth?”, Alma asks with a soft chuckle.

Grisha is pulled out of his trance, regaining his surroundings.

“Sorry,  I just had a flashback to my sled dogs back home. I miss them so much. Their ceaseless energy never faltered and they were always happy to see me. A large wide grin of canines and their tongue hanging out could always brighten my day.”

“So that’s why you’re always happy around others and why you always seem to have endless energy. You take after your sled dogs.”

“Oh absolutely! Even in the coldest of winters. The darkest of Russian nights. They were always ready to run, always enjoying the life they had to give. Their spirit will always be with me.”